A mobile application is more than just an application for businesses today. Some businesses, such as Uber that rely heavily on their mobile application for business, earned over 1 billion USD in the fourth quarter of 2020. On the other hand, some companies like Facebook, are seeing their mobile app usage grow as much as 67% year on year.
With a widening gap between mobile browsers and mobile applications, users are spending 90% of their overall mobile internet time on mobile applications. Simply put, mobile applications have become a pillar for continuing growth and revenue in the past years.
This makes the quality of a mobile application more important than it ever was and to do so. This means that mobile app developers need to ensure that their applications are tested and tested well. The testing needs can be met via manual testing efforts of course and that is what teams do initially.
But if you have a mobile application that is growing, how do you know if it is time to invest in automating your mobile tests? This post is designed to decode the same question and help you understand the signs which reflect the need for the implementation of mobile test automation.
1. Are your mobile testing cycles becoming longer day by day?
If your test cycles are steadily becoming longer and impacting the project delivery time, it is a sign that you are wasting too much time on something that is repetitive and a possible solution could be the implementation of mobile test automation. As the mobile application owner or developer, it is extremely important to deliver the project on time. There are a lot of competitors in the market and staying ahead of them means delivering the software faster!
When test cycles start to become longer than before, they become heavier than the testers can handle. This is where mobile test automation comes in. Automation is a good way to keep the project costs in control. Mobile test automation may come at a price but gives a good return on investment in the long run.
Consider a scenario where you have a project that needs 24 hours of testing. Your tester works for eight hours in the office and with the same speed, will take three days to complete.
Automation does not need to get home and relax. At the time when your resources are not being used, mobile test automation can run for 24 hours a day (in best cases) and you are done in one day itself. Of course, it is the case only when cases are defined and human intervention is no longer needed.
Mobile test automation can be used to take part in the test cycles and automate a few repetitive fixed test cases that do not require human efforts. With automation handling a part of your test cycles, the project deliveries will become instant and you can reduce the test cycle time by up to 98%.
2. Increased In-House Device Lab Costs
Over time, your mobile application will start capturing the market slowly. When such a phase arrives, the responsibilities of testing will increase on the tester. As a result, organisations prefer buying their own mobile devices which ultimately increases the in-house device lab costs. Although it is a good and smart investment, it surely is marked in bold in the expense sheet.
Increasing in-house device lab costs means we now require added professionals to maintain the grid and that costs money too! Failing to add professionals to our team will increase the overall testing time and delay delivery. Continuing the same trend can raise questions on the methodology and practices used in testing.
While working on mobile testing, device lab cost is a prime reason for high costs. When the tasks keep on growing as the releases continue, the increased device lab costs would not be a one-time thing.
Image Source: https://twitter.com/lukew/status/535509463772327937
Automation can save us from this extra expense of added mobile devices and professionals to test on them. Automation tools over the cloud are a great way to manage such issues. These tools can provide support for your device labs by providing cloud infrastructure.
Through this already established infrastructure, the team can execute their test cases on their increased devices without hiring professionals and delivering their project on-time. Testsigma falls in the same line of tools as mentioned above. With the power of executing the tests on 5 labs, Testsigma’s exhaustive cloud lab integration feature not only saves a lot of money but helps you deliver on time.
Also, a related article that may help you if you are confused if you should invest in a mobile device lab or not: Mobile Testing Lab: How to decide which way to go?
3. Too much use of simulators and emulators
When testing a mobile application, and you don’t have access to an exhaustive mobile testing lab – there are chances that you would choose testing on simulators or emulators. Testing on simulators and emulators is not a bad thing because they are made for the same purpose but this type of testing should only be limited to developers while they are testing the code.
If your testers are spending too much of their time testing on simulators and emulators, then there is a high chance that your real-life users will be reporting a lot of issues that were not caught while testing. And that just defeats the purpose of testing, doesn’t it?
The solution here is to use a device-lab. When you need to use a device lab, that means you are executing the same test cases on multiple devices. To save time on repetitive testing, its important to automate your cross-device testing.
It makes sense to choose a tool that lets you automate and then execute your cross-device testing without any hassles. Testsigma is one such tool that has been made for the same purpose.
Try out Testsigma for easy automation of your cross-device testing
4. Stagnant Business Expansion
For most testing projects, the testing process takes around 50% of scheduled time and the same can be expected for mobile testing projects. In some cases, people said the time can go up to even 75%. That is a lot of time. Although one might argue that they are able to finish off the project within the deadline, the problem comes in expanding your wings in other directions.
When working in the software industry, the market changes every day. Today the people might incline towards skeuomorphic designs, sometime later, they are a fan of flat design.
To research these changes and be in line with them, the product needs to be changed constantly accordingly. But if all the time is spent on project testing, there is no time to understand the market and devise new strategies.
With automated mobile testing, we can perform repetitive mobile testing tasks in a very short time which can help us to quickly wrap up the testing part. This time can then be spent on other projects and researching the next phase of our business.
However, this stage does not come from day one. Usually, we start investing a lot of the time in the project testing phase when the project starts to grow. This would be our next point to analyse the projected growth and mobile test automation.
5. Fewer Changes in Mobile Application Release Versions
A full-fledged mobile application is not built in a single day or by the first release. It is a cyclic process. We build something, take feedback, improvise and build again. But there is a time when either our mobile app is too big with loads of features or the changes are very few. In both of the cases, the tests become repetitive and require the same testing methods on subsequent release versions.
Wasting our time and resources (such as device labs) on repetitive testing will just increase the costs unnecessarily. The best option to choose in such situations is mobile test automation. Mobile test automation can perform pre-written tests automatically on the mobile application. We can also go through the CI/CD automation pipeline to achieve the same.
A small example of one feature is logging into the mobile application or managing the session state for automatic logins. There are hardly any changes to the login system once the mobile application is stable (for example, multi-factor authentication is added sometime later). Using the same test scripts for the next versions will simply waste our time.
Although that does not mean we skip it altogether. Code breaks in a mobile application all the time. A small database change can lead to an error for the front-end. But such errors can be taken care of by automation and verifying the results at the end of the process.
6. Mobile Application Size is Increasing
A good sign to start thinking about implementing mobile test automation is when you feel that the mobile application size is increasing beyond a certain point. When our project starts to grow, so does our test cases and especially repetitive tests.
Sometimes, managers analyze the need for automation by calculating the test cases that can be automated. For example, a small application has around 300-500 test cases that can be automated. This number grows as the application size increases.
If you are working for a client, project estimation at the start can save you a lot of time and money. Since you already know the size of the application with surety (for example, when switching from web to mobile), you can start the mobile test automation process very early into the pipeline.
On the other hand, if you are working on your own project and are not sure how far it will go, it is better to start with manual testing first. Even though manual testers will do repetitive work, it will be very small and will cost less than automation. You can take any metric to decide the current stage of your project but the best way is to see the current automated test cases.
7. Application is diverse
Mobile applications seem to be united by the operating system they are working on such as Android, but they are divided by the version of that operating system. There is no such standard that an Android application would work on every version of the operating system. For instance, WhatsApp stopped the support on Android 4.0 and below in 2020.
The reason for such situations is that the complexities and requirements are not satisfied by early versions of an operating system. But on the other side, WhatsApp still works between 4.0 and Android 11. This creates diversity in the application.
If the same application is supposed to be working on multiple devices, operating systems and versions, it is bound to go under repetitive tests on each of them. This repetition is prone to errors when performed manually and is one of the 8 signs that you need to implement mobile test automation. A diverse application also has to be updated every few days which means the process would repeat again.
Image Source: https://www.saifzone.net/cross-platform/
Mobile test automation is a complex task and requires help from simple and well-managed software. One such platform is Testsigma. Testsigma is a pocket-friendly and feature-loaded software that allows mobile test automation in simple and quick steps.
With the advantage of mobile test automation including the use of real-devices, Testsigma also provides the user with a lot of automation integrations that can be used in our testing process.
You can try mobile test automation on a free trial account on Android native mobile applications or iOS native mobile apps. For a more detailed guide on how Testsigma can help you in mobile test automation, you can refer to this post.
8. Usual Delays in Bug Report
Agile methodology has become a de facto process of a software release in the majority of companies. This point is specifically for those who are using agile methodology and are having trouble coping with the timelines. The strength of agile is that it releases software very frequently.
Every fortnight or so, you have a new release ready with feedback corrections, new enhancements and other added features. But this strength becomes a headache for manual testers because now the time is very less for testing too many test cases. This happens in every cycle.
The only option testers are left with is assuming previous test data report reports till the release and continue testing even after that. This not only impacts product quality but creates a bad impression among the users. A poorly tested product is poor quality software.
The cost of fixing these bugs is also very high and at your wits’ end. When such a situation arises in the SDLC for your mobile test automation, it means you need to urgently implement mobile test automation. The agile methodology for your mobile application will work with a smiling face when done with mobile test automation because of the speed of execution we get in automation.
So before considering mobile test automation, check out two points on your project; whether your testers are under the avalanche of test cases every 15 days and whether they are not able to cope with it. If these are the cases, these are signs that you need to implement for mobile test automation and boost up the timeline.
Mobile applications have become the lifeline of various businesses, if not all, and the need to stay ahead in the market is more than ever. At the time when we see a surge in mobile application user, we cannot forget the tireless efforts of the people behind it. Then, after a point in a project cycle, the breakpoint arrives when the time and money asses the allowed limit. Our test cycles start to increase and the test cases become repetitive. Such signs call for the need for the implementation of mobile test automation.
Automation that takes over repetitive tasks is cost-effective and is much faster than manual testing. While the need for manual testing is extremely important, working with automation is the best combination a company can have.
As a leader of the organisation or a team, sensing the signs to implement mobile test automation, at the right time, is important. While automation costs us initially, it pays off after some time. But, for efficient mobile test automation, you need an efficient tool.
As a tester, you can try your hands on the software and tell us how you feel in the comment section. I hope this post will guide you in project development and realizing the need for mobile test automation at a perfect time.